Once upon a time I had a craving for biscuits and gravy. Bob Evans wasn’t going to cut it. I needed the real stuff. A quick Google search of “best biscuits and gravy” turned up the Loveless Cafe in Nashville, TN. And just like that a trip was planned for the weekend. I would leave shortly on an 800 mile trip for breakfast in December of 2010.
The Lovelace Motel and Cafe was created by Lon and Anne Loveless in 1951 to feed travelers on Highway 100. In its life it has been named America’s “Top Down-Home Dining Spot” by USA Today (2005), been invited to serve dinner at the James Beard House in NYC (2012), and produced the famous “Biscuit Lady,” chef Carol Fay Ellison, who was a featured guest on The Ellen Show, The Today Show, The Martha Stewart Show, and Late Night with Conan O’Brien.
Now I can’t say for certain they have the best biscuits and gravy in the world but I can confidently state they are fantastic! The fattening breakfast you will feast on is more than worth the wait for a table. In fact the only thing I had on my enormous plate that I didn’t enjoy was red eye gravy. For those not from the South, this is a horrid mixture of drippings from pan-fried ham, bacon, and/or sausage with a black coffee base. This grease-coffee abomination is served over ham or breakfast starches. I don’t know what sick person invented it but it was clearly created as a joke to gross out friends.
Arriving at our hotel late and starving we asked the front desk lady for a recommendation for casual food. She directed us to a nondescript eatery name Vittles in a strip mall not far away. We weren’t looking for much, just a quick meal before we turned in. What I ordered however, turned out to be the best fried chicken I’ve ever had in my life. I don’t remember anything about our hotel or the nice lady that directed us to Vittles, but that chicken still haunts my dreams.
While on my journey I made a bunch of neat stops. The first of which was The Minister’s Tree House in Crossville, TN. Horace Burgess claims he constructed the treehouse in 1993 after being commanded to do so by God. It’s 97 feet tall and holds a church inside complete with pews and a hand carved, wooden bible. Being uncomfortable with heights, I only made it to the 4th story before the uneven steps and floorboards made me too dizzy to continue. Sadly I’ve been told the site has been closed to visitors since 2012.
Frequently I like to stop and visit cemeteries. Sometimes I go to pay respect to someone famous or I go just to admire the tombstones. Finding an interestingly shaped grave or humorous engraving is like stumbling upon buried treasure! Get it? Buried treasure…On this trip I was able to visit some of Nashville’s country music royalty as well as find a few fun graves.
As far as the famous go, I found Johnny and June Carter Cash, Joe Maphis the “King of Strings,” and Merle Kilgore, the co-writer of Ring of Fire. It was like Nashville’s Music City Row of the Dead.
What I love about Maphis’ grave is the image of his double necked guitar and the inscription “STILL PICKIN’.”
Among the dead I found two head stones not far apart that invoked the humor of my 13 year old self. I’m sure you can figure out why. Sometimes you just have to be immature.
Another bit of fun I had was with these graves surrounded by a little fence. The Hogg family plot. The Hogg pen! That’s gold, people.
Last graves I’ll share are these awesome stones! One obviously shaped like an old school coffin and the other belonging to some sailor who must have really been dedicated to his craft.
On the way home a quick couple of turns off the highway and we found our last vacation meal. The Pink Cadillac Diner in Natural Bridge, VA was a great decision. A cheeseburger, fries, and milkshake in a place with a jukebox and old music memorabilia on the wall is a great way to finish any trip.
I would like to end this post with a prayer from Father Robert Farrar Capon.